DAVID LILLIE has been working on the Dreamkeepers story since 2008. After three graphic novels, and a few extra projects along the way, he shows no signs of slowing down. With his partner Liz, they make the core of Vivid Creations‘ independent publishing. David took some time off from drawing 432 individuals in front of 112 minarets to include some concept art in our book, Myriad Song, and to share with us his thoughts on creativity and art.
|“I have this nagging belief that when passionate, dedicated creators are in charge of their work, the results are often better than what comes out of the Hollywood board rooms. So we’re having a blast making our own stuff, and seeing just how far we can take this roller-coaster of far too much color.”The source of the desire is simple — cartooning is potentially very powerful, and it’s nearly always treated by mainstream culture as a medium for patronizing idiots and children. Even the word ’cartoony’ is synonymous with unserious, simple-minded caricature. But cartoons are a powerful tool. They’re inherently evocative, appealing, easy to empathize with …. Used well, they focus on the details that matter. We see the sorrow, despair, joy, frustration, action, dynamism of a character….”[W]hat if we used it for something with more adventure, more life, something more vibrant and honest and interesting? Everything else has kind of flowed from that desire, to see cartooning used at its full potential.”||
|“A lot of people — a whole lot — want to do their own personal project for a living. It’s an enticing idea. But it’s very difficult to achieve. It requires a stupid amount of commitment. … I can’t tell other people how to make choices, but for me I sat down and thought about the worst case scenario. What if I spent my life trying to create what I love, and failed to ever make a living at it, winding up fifty, broke, and struggling to pay the bills with a job that I had intended as temporary thirty years before? What if I failed? Would I regret spending my time making my books?”Nope. I love this so much, I’m willing to see my life jump the shark over it.”If you have that kind of passion and commitment- then, really, you don’t have much choice over whether you’re going to be a creator or not. It’s in your blood, it’s just what you do every day. For those folks, don’t give up. Keep failing, keep learning, and eventually you’ll get somewhere.”|
|“The biggest frustration over the years has been how much time it takes to render what I had in my head — but, in retrospect, I think it was one of our greatest assets. I had time to get to know our characters better, let them grow and develop more, refine my understanding of the world, and develop my writing and artistic abilities. Dozens of story choices changed. We kept the same roots, the ones cemented into place within Volume 1 — but the tree they are growing into has juggled branches and twigs, pruned itself into different forms.”I’m thrilled with the story taking shape. It’s not that we’re creating something different from the original vision- but rather, conveying it more effectively than we initially could have conceived.”The magical thing is that progressive edits don’t feel at all like we’re making new stuff up. It feels exactly like making a discovery, uncovering something that was there all along — like the perfect Dreamkeepers story exists independently in the ether, it always has, and the more we develop and focus our efforts, the more clearly it shows itself.”|
Be sure to check out the official Dreamkeepers website, where you can see a gallery of the artwork and you can order your own copies of the graphic novels. You can read more about Dave, Liz, and their exploits on their personal blog at the Vivid Creations webpage.